For those who are new to deal shopping, couponing or even buying in bulk, you may sometimes wonder whether it is worth it to put in the time and effort to find deals on random items each week or month.
Finding a great deal on coconut oil, for example, may seem insignificant when you think, “That’s all well and good, but after I buy my coconut oil, how do I save on the rest of the foods on my grocery list?”
Enter the Pantry Principle.
Here’s how it works:
- When you find a deal on a particular item, buy up as much at that sale price as your budget will allow.
- The next time you go to use that item, you will have more than you would usually purchase– the key here is that you got it all for cheaper than usual. Now, it won’t need to go on your list the next week (or month, or whatever).
- The next time you shop, stock up on another deal, as much as you are able. Now you have another item in abundance, and you will not need to buy it again soon.
- Over time, your stash of foods bought inexpensively begins to build up. As this happens, your need to add them to your shopping list and pay full price for them diminishes.
Now that you are well-stocked in many of the items that your family regularly uses, you will not need to go out and buy them each time you shop. Instead, you will “shop” from your stockpile.
This is where the Pantry Principle becomes truly powerful… instead of being at the mercy of the store prices of these foods or household items, the roles have reversed.
Now YOU are in the position of power. You set the price that you will pay. No longer will you be required to buy necessary items at the going price, but you will choose to buy them (and stock up once again) when the deal is sweet enough for you to consider it worthwhile.
Of course, there are some limitations to this principle. You probably don’t want to start stockpiling lettuce! However, there are plenty of foods and other products that this works very well with, such as canned or dry grocery (including bulk grains, dried fruits or nuts), toiletries or basic beauty items (toothpaste, soap, or shampoo), cleaning supplies or other household goods (batteries, lightbulbs or toilet paper). It also applies to any fresh produce that can be preserved, by canning, freezing, cold storage or dehydrating.
Image by Nany Mata
Implementing the Pantry Principle isn’t something that happens overnight, but you might be surprised by how little time it takes to begin to see its effects on your budget. Start by stocking up on one deal per month, or maybe every two weeks or even every week if you are able. The next month (or week) stockpile something different. Over the course of a few months, you will be amazed to find that your stockpile is growing and that your grocery costs are dropping.
Suddenly, a deal on coconut oil seems far more significant! It’s an opportunity to purchase at the best price, so that the next time you shop your money can be used towards another deal.
One of the ways that Saving Naturally will help you to save is by alerting you to fantastic deals on both smaller items (like individual cans of organic tomato paste or practically-free toothbrushes and floss) as well as on larger, bulk items (like 25 lbs of organic oats or a 5 gallon tub of coconut oil). My goal is to bring the deals that will stock your pantry straight to you, so you don’t have to search for them!